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What you see is what you eat

Bajandouh, Y. (2022) What you see is what you eat. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00109738


Over the last decades, the definition of self-control has been a matter of debate. Self-control failure has been traditionally understood as deficits in inhibitory control (Baumeister, 1994). While, in recent years, some researchers have defined self-control as the process of resolving conflict between two competing goals (Inzlicht et al., 2021). However, there has been limited research on conflict identification, that is, in order to activate self-control, one must first identify a self-control conflict, defined by an incompatibility between temptations (e.g., eating highcaloric yet delicious food) and long-term goals (e.g., eating healthily) (Myrseth & Fishbach, 2009). We hypothesized that problems to identify conflict impair self-control. Firstly, we examined whether unhealthy eating norms affected peoples’ conflict identification. We found that social norms caused people to perceive desired unhealthy food as healthier. This perception was associated with an increase in the intentions to purchase unhealthy food. Additionally, in the presence of unhealthy eating norms, health commitment (i.e., the importance and ease of eating healthily) was associated with an unhealthier perception of unhealthy food, less desire and fewer purchase intentions. While there were significant effects of social norms on conflict identification, the findings were inconsistent across the studies. Secondly, we developed a new Categorisation task to measure conflict identification. We explored the role of goal saliency on peoples’ abilities to identify conflict between temptations and long-term goals. We found that dieters and people with problematic self-control showed more conflict identification when goals were salient. This research contributes to the improvement in the understanding of self-control by integrating individual differences and social components in studying conflict identification.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Vogt, J.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Psychology & Clinical Language Sciences
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences
ID Code:109738

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